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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 28

This Week

Dear Parents,

The School has been quietly vibrating from the hum of brains whirring this week (as usual, I suppose I really ought to add!) as the boys in Years 3 – 5 put plenty of effort into writing their exam answers. Parents of boys in those Year groups will receive copies of exam results today. These exams, at this point in the year, are the final piece in the cycle of assessments we carry out here. Looking at pupils’ progress, efforts and then their achievements at this stage of the year helps us to clarify our views on how the boys are getting on overall. Hopefully there have not been any unexpected surprises as far as the boys are concerned. If you or indeed they feel this is not the case, do please consider coming in to discuss this with Mr Ford or me.

It was excellent to see a number of parents here at school on Tuesday night, when we presented the 2019 Pastoral Review. Mrs Tinkler and her team of staff and parent helpers have produced an excellent ‘road map’ for us, to steer the development of our pastoral aims and ethos over the next three years or so. This has been a significant piece of work for all those who have helped to pull it together and I am especially grateful to them for their collective efforts. I am very much looking forward to seeing the recommendations in the Review being met as time goes by. We are sending you all an electronic copy of the Pastoral Review today, which I hope you will find interesting.

The boys in Years 5 and 6 will now be thinking, no doubt, about their residential trips that take place immediately after the half term break. It always feels rather odd to have so many boys off-site for the week, but hearing how they all got on once they return does of course go a long way towards compensating for their absence. These weeks for both of these Year groups are designed to be, in part, opportunities for them to shine in all sorts of ways that perhaps even we hitherto might not have noticed. We do of course expect them to continue to behave beautifully, to be proud to represent their family and their school whilst in a completely new environment and to make the most of having a great deal of fun with their friends. Fingers crossed for some excellent weather for them all…!

I do hope that whatever plans you may have for next week you will be able to enjoy some relaxing family time together at this mid-point in our busy term.

Have a great half term break,

Tim Smith


Sports News

In a blink of an eye we are half way through the summer term. Cricket matches have been coming thick and fast and I have already started planning sports day and even scarier, my thoughts have been steering towards the swimming gala in September. In short, we have been pretty busy.

In our PE lessons we have been developing our Athletic skills and I have started to collate times and distances, so over half term I can begin to group the boys for their races on Sports Day. As I have said to you before, Sports Day is the best day of the year in my opinion. Unfortunately, however, there is a fair bit of admin necessary for it all to run smoothly and so this is now my task over the next few weeks. The boys are already beginning to get excited and there has been a tremendous amount of competiveness on display when setting their times.

However, the thing I really enjoy about Sports Day is how all the boys encourage each other and display a fantastic sense of unity. Everyone has a chance to compete and be successful and it is always a really positive way to finish the year.

The cricket fixtures have continued this week with the U11s playing on Monday and recording two good wins. On Tuesday all the boys in Year 4 played against Newland House, with two wins and two losses and finally three teams across Year 5 and 6 played against Claremont on Wednesday, which resulted in two wins and one loss.

Straight after half term we take the Year 6 boys to Wales so there will be no fixtures or bulletin. However, everything will be back to normal on our return and I look forward to seeing you all for the final few weeks of the year.

Have a great half term.

Pre-Prep News

In the blink of an eye, the first half of term has passed so quickly but what a fun and busy time we have enjoyed!  Next half term promises to be just as full – what with sports day, the concert, prize giving, moving-up days and the art exhibition to name just a few events coming up between now and the end of the year.

On that note, please do read through the information we have sent about Sports Day very carefully – arrangements may seem complex but it is important that we have a contingency plan in the event of rain. It goes without saying our fingers and toes will be crossed here in Pre-Prep and we’ll be watching the weather forecast like hawks!

Pre-Prep School Council met last week and decided on the charity to support this term, it is Save the Children. Our Pre-Prep School Council supports one charity each term; a local one in the autumn, a national one in the spring and an international one in the summer. To raise money for our chosen cause, the council will be a holding a ‘Kids Rule’ day next half term… watch this space for more information!

The Pastoral Review was launched on Tuesday night and those of you present will have heard that past pupils (now in Years 3 and 4) were so enormously helpful in suggesting ways to enhance our support of the boys as they move on from Pre-Prep and Prep.  I am delighted to inform you, we have cracked on with some of their very sensible and practical advice.  To this end, a number of Year 6 boys visited Pre-Prep on Wednesday afternoon and conducted a ‘Q&A’ session with Year 2.  It was lovely to hear that all found the experience so valuable.  Earlier in the day, Mr Darmon, Head of Games, visited too – Miss Goscomb explains a little more about his visit below.

This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Sam (Reception) for always starting the day with a cheery “Good morning, how are you?”

and Stars of the Week to:

Year 2: Daniel (2 stars) for trying hard to remember how to partition carefully when adding and subtracting.

Year 1: Freddie (2 stars) for working so hard in all lessons, especially English! Keep it up!

Reception:  Ronak (2 stars) for demonstrating kind and helpful behaviour to his friends and teachers.

Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …

It has been a wild week in Kindergarten, exploring lots of information about animals living in the wild. We were very excited to find out that there are two different types of elephants – although, they look very similar, their ears are different sizes and they live in different countries. We used our class globe to locate where we as well as other animals live.  Using a variety of mixed media including collaging and oil pastels, we decorated a wild animal mask. Some of these masks are on display in our classroom and others will be on display in the art exhibition.

We have had great fun acting out a narrative with our friends in the ‘Safari role-play’. There are monkeys swinging from the vines, lions on the ground and we have taken up shelter in the tent covered in camouflage materials. We have been using torches and binoculars to spot the animals on safari! After a busy day exploring, we have relaxed on the camp chairs and cooked our tea on the barbecue.

We read a story called ‘Hello Mr World’ by Michael Foreman. This book was very thought provoking and lots of discussions took place around saving our planet.  We talked about the meaning of new words including:  ‘climate change’, ‘extinct’, ‘globe’, ‘gas’ and ‘energy’. We used the globe to see where our planet is getting warmer and where polar animals are not getting the cold weather that they need to survive. We talked about ways to save our planet, such as, walking instead of driving and turning lights off when we leave a room – all very topical given Greta Thunberg’s march in London today.

Finally, as a class, we have recently had lots of discussions to reinforce the message ‘if you play, you need to help tidy away’.

Our topic after half term is ‘The Farm’.

What a busy week in Reception! We were all very excited to write the final entry in our gratitude diary – all about things that make us laugh. We thought about feeling grateful for things that make us smile, and maintaining a positive attitude.  The children shared ideas of the things that made them laugh the most – tickles, siblings and funny films all featured. We have been so impressed with the progress in the boys’ writing this term. We are delighted that many of them are using full stops, capital letters, careful letter formation and spelling ‘tricky’ words correctly in their independent writing.

We have also been comparing our sunflowers that are now seedlings – we have encouraged the children to use the vocabulary tall, taller, tallest in their discussions about whose plant has grown the most. The children will be bringing their sunflowers home today – we would love to see photographs and measurements of how tall they grow – feel free to email us the pictures.   In our mathematics sessions we have been learning about sharing equally in to two and three groups. Captain Timba and Captain Johnston needed some help to share their pirate treasure! It was a challenge to keep both pirates happy, but we learnt about dividing into equal group.  Finally, we had a wonderful time at our Pirate Teddy Bear picnic on Thursday.  The boys used their making skills to create hats and patches for themselves, and for their bears! We then had to share the food equally between all the boys in the class to make things fair.  What a way to finish off a fabulous half term.

Year 1 have been thinking about superheroes this week during our English lessons. The children drew and wrote about their favourite superhero and then moved on to design their very own superhero, thinking about what special powers it has as well as who its archenemy is! Today the children had a range of activities to complete which included writing a short story about their superhero, designing a mask for their superhero (which they trailed by wearing at playtime) and completing a comprehension task on Ratman and Waterwoman!

In maths we have been using 30cm rulers and meter sticks to measure different items around the classroom. We started by making estimates using our knowledge of how big a centimetre is and then measured accurately using a ruler.

The children have been lining up so well at the end of play times that they reached 20 ‘best lines’. They earned a well-deserved treat of baking, decorating and eating cupcakes.

We have been busy practising for sports day and enjoyed some relay races at swimming on Tuesday afternoon. Today we also finished reading ‘Fing’ by David Walliams which we have really enjoyed. Thank you to Rishi for lending it to us!

This week, Year 2 have been using their knowledge of partitioning to add and subtract two-digit numbers. This was a highly popular method and the children were very careful when using this to solve addition and subtraction problems. After half term, we will be learning how to use the column method to add and take away!

We finished our leaflets about rainforests in English and some children began to make theirs using the software on PurpleMash – do feel free to continue with these over the half term break. We also had a very exciting lesson on Tuesday where we had a preposition tea party! We had to use prepositions when asking other children to pass us food, for example, “Ayaan, please would you pass me the cucumber from next to the jug.” The children had a wonderful time speaking in their words very clearly and also remembering to use excellent manners – there were no elbows on the table!

We learned about bug hotels in science and designed some excellent homes for potential visitors such as woodlice, slugs and spiders.

In topic, we learned about how animals are adapted to living in specific layers of the rainforest. After half term, we will be making models of rainforests in shoeboxes; please therefore send in a named shoebox in readiness for this!

Finally, we welcomed some very special guests on Wednesday. In the morning, Mr Darmon came to speak to us about the Lion award as well as games lessons at Prep and in the afternoon some of the Year 6s came down to talk to us about what Prep is like, including what they like the best and what the school day is like. They also told us how they felt quite nervous when they first went to Prep but that they made new friends very quickly and everyone was incredibly welcoming. We enjoyed both visits and found out a lot about Prep.

Wishing you a super half term break!

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster